What sort of life are you pursuing? A life of pleasure? A life of purpose? A life of significance? A good life? A quiet life? A family life? What sort of life are you pursuing?

Or are you just sitting back and letting life come at you? Are you passively and blindly accepting your every circumstance? Are you just trying to get by? Are you keeping your head down, hoping to stay out of trouble? Are you trying to become invisible?

Those who follow Jesus, those who are his friends here on earth, have received a specific kind of life. God’s life. That’s right. In Jesus, you have received the life of the one who created life, and created it with no stain of sin or death. Now the question is: How do you live that life?

One of the least read books of the Bible is 2 Peter. Be honest. When was the last time you read 2 Peter? Did you even know there was a 2 Peter? Could you find it in your Bible in less than a minute? It’s okay if you can’t.

Here’s a powerful statement from one of the least read books of the Bible: His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Everything we need. God has given it to us through his divine power.

You already have everything you need to live God’s life. You don’t need to be more spiritual, you just need to pay more attention to the Spirit that already lives within you. You don’t need to be more mature, you just need to apply the wisdom of the Scriptures–which you already have access to–to the trials and failures of your life. You don’t need to know more, you just need to press more deeply into the knowledge of God fully revealed through Jesus Christ.

You don’t need more hit points. You don’t need to level up. You don’t need another heart-piece. You already have all you need to live God’s life, the godly life in Christ Jesus. You have it through faith in Jesus. You have it because God called you to it, according to his own goodness and glory. You have it because the Holy Spirit lives within you, and he is talking to you all the time. You have it, because as Peter says in the very next verse, God has given you his very great and precious promises. What are those promises? They are Jesus himself!

As if this wasn’t enough, Peter goes on: [God] has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. You can participate in the divine nature, right now, on earth, in the same clothes you’re wearing today. That’s the invitation of God through the fulfillment of his promises–to live his life, to escape the corruption of evil desires. And you don’t need anything besides what God has already given you. That’s the beauty and power of the Gospel. So go out and live God’s life today, and live it without fear or insecurity. When you have Jesus, you have everything you need.

My devotional reading today brought me to Colossians 1, which is so full of amazing stuff that it’s hard to pick one thing to share, but I wanted to share this part of Paul’s prayer with you.

We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light.

Isn’t this one of the most amazing prayers you’ve ever read? Don’t you wish somebody was praying this for you?

The part that stands out to me, at this point in my life anyway, is this: Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience. More than any other season in my life, I need “great endurance” right now, but endurance does not come naturally to me.

In 8th grade, my friend convinced me to join the track team. At the first meeting, we were given a piece of paper with all of the track and field events written on it. We were told to sign up for the events that we were most interested in. I checked the boxes for the shortest races. I wasn’t fast, I just knew I didn’t want to run for a long time. (The funny thing is, I probably would have done well in the distance races, but I was too big of a wuss to try.)

In order to live the life God has called me to live, I need access to that which I do not internally possess. I need strength from God so that I can have great endurance. I need the power of the Spirit within me so that I can please God. I do not naturally possess these qualities of character, so I need them to be infused into my life from above. I need Paul’s prayer prayed over me.

What about you? What part of this prayer resonates with you? Do you need this prayer prayed over you?

This week I’m going to pray this prayer over the people of Ember, and I urge you to pray it over those you love.

I try not to pay attention to the comments sections when I’m reading news articles online. It can only infuriate you. But sometimes I allow my curiosity to get the best of me, and, predictably, I read something that infuriated me.

The state of Florida is preparing to pass the Andrew Widman Act, which will close a loophole in the state’s law regarding probation restrictions. Andy was a friend of mine (I’ve known him since 3rd grade), and he eventually became a police officer in Ft. Myers, FL. He was shot and killed in the line of duty in 2008. The man who killed him was on probation, had been arrested on a felony charge just a few days before, but was out on parole. This is the loophole the law is hoping to clear up. (If you’re new to the blog, please go back to the archives of July, 2008 to read more. Andy was an incredible man of God who is greatly missed.)

Apparently it’s passed both the House and the Senate in Florida unanimously, and now just awaits the signature of the governor. This is good news. But not to everyone, apparently. One moron, lowlife, scumbag left this comment on the news article:

Forget the Widman, better training!!! and maybe if he held his gun up instead of the cross, he be aljve?????????????

My first reaction was seething rage. My second reaction was even greater seething rage because this person is clearly an over-opinionated idiot who can’t spell and doesn’t know how to write, and he’s denigrating my faith and the faith of my deceased friend.

My third reaction was to smile, because three years later, Andy is still remembered as a man of the cross, even by ignorant imbeciles. Yes, Andy chose to bear the cross rather than the gun. No doubt Andy would have used his gun if he had to, but he wanted to show perpetrators the agape love of God more than the business end of a weapon.

There was a story circulating about a man who came to Andy’s funeral. A reporter approached him and asked him, “Why have you come to Officer Widman’s funeral?” He replied, “Officer Widman arrested me twice this year, and both times he was so kind and friendly. I just had to come and pay my respects.”

The truth of what happened that night in 2008 is that Andy didn’t have time to raise his gun. He was shot in cold-blood by an evil, cowardly man. But in his death, the cross he held up each day–the cross of Jesus Christ–was lifted up for millions to see. So thank you, idiot commenter, for reminding me that Andy is still remembered, first and foremost, as a man of the cross.

Last week I asked my pastor to mentor me, and he told me to just look in the mirror and do whatever that guy tells me. I wasn’t sure if he was serious (about half-serious), but I was certainly convicted by his point. I already know what I need to do, it’s just a matter of doing it. And that’s the hard part, isn’t it? It never seems to matter how much I want to exercise (or do a lot of things that I want or should do), I simply don’t do it. My lack of discipline and get-up-and-go is truly embarrassing. Would I want other people to have my will power? Is this how I would want my friends to live their lives?
Doing the things that I want and should do is really what is best for me. They are the things that I want my friends to do because they are what is best for them. So if I want the best for others, why do I refuse (like a sluggard) to do the best for myself? It truly is humiliating. I ought to listen to the man in the mirror.

So in that vein, here the simple things that I want and ought to do to live the life I’ve always wanted:

  • read the Bible every day as an act of worship
  • engage in more thoughtful acts of worship and devotion
  • pray on my way to and from work
  • exercise every day
  • pray with my wife at night
  • eat healthy food
  • stop drinking pop
  • spend less than I make
  • tithe every month
  • save every month
  • stay engaged at work
  • work on my screenplay every day
  • take photos once a week
  • read a book a week
  • spend better time with my family
  • have intentionally spiritual conversations with friends
  • lavish others with praise

I suppose the list could go on. But really, what is so hard about any of these? Why is it so difficult to do these things consistently? I want to do all of them, but I constantly find myself doing other things that have no lasting value.

What a wretched man I am. Were it not for the grace of Jesus, I would be utterly lost. Thank you Jesus, may I be found in you. Please give me the strength of will to do the things I want and ought to do.

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